Indian Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi took to Twitter today, to condemn the Uttar Pradesh government for not allowing buses ferrying migrants, enter the state in the last two days.
Gandhi, who had earlier offered to arrange for a 1000 buses, to support the government in the mammoth task of transporting migrants back to their villages in UP, amid the lockdown, said that the Yogi Adityanath government, insisted on producing the papers of the vehicles, and delayed the initiative by wasting time in communication.
In a video tweet, she said it is not the time to play petty politics.
Hundreds of buses had lined up at Delhi's border with Uttar Pradesh since morning, with Congress leaders protesting at the site.
During a digital press conference, she said: “If you had allowed these buses to run, around 72,000 people would have been home by now. But they were engaged in politics. The buses were are standing at the Rajasthan-Uttar Pradesh border since yesterday and are not being of any help.”
Gandhi added that the Congress wants to help in a positive way and doesn’t want to indulge in politics.
The migrant buses controversy
On Saturday, Gandhi had made the offer of the vehicles, saying it wanted to help the government. After a war of words erupted between the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress, UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath accepted the offer and asked Gandhi to send the buses to Noida and Ghaziabad by Tuesday afternoon.
However, on Tuesday evening, the state government said that, upon checking, they found that only 879 of the 1,000 vehicles were buses, and the rest three-wheelers and other vehicles.
This triggered angry reactions from the Congress, it’s supporters and other Twitter users who have been urging central and state governments to deal with the issue on a high-priority basis.
“UP government has crossed all the limits. When there is an opportunity to do away with political differences and serve helpless migrant labourers it has caused all the hindrances. @myogiadityanath ji you can use BJP flags and your posters on these buses, but don’t reject our feelings of service,” she had said in a tweet on Tuesday.
After there was no positive response from the UP state government, at 4pm (IST), she recalled the buses.
Right-wing trolls have argued on Twitter and other social media platforms that the Indian National Congress is using this opportunity to create a vote bank, by portraying that they care about the migrants.
Responding to a tweet by a troll who said that BJP had caught out Congress’ bluff, writer @sanjukta tweeted: “Shame on you and shame on #YogiAdityanath, why so much hate for the migrant workers? If they reach homes safely what is the problem? Priyanka Gandhi said 900 buses are standing at two points today, can ferry 90k people, couldn't Yogi allow these buses?”
Gandhi also responded in a follow up video that 200 more vehicles can be arranged in the following days, requesting the 800 vehicles to pass.
Twitter user @YangerLongkume2 posted: “Priyanka Gandhi provided 897 buses for migrant workers. Adityanath govt having trouble counting it. For the last 72+ hours.”
And, @SSaklany added: “CM Adityanath is mocking sufferings of Migrants waiting on the border to reach home by blocking all the efforts of Priyanka Gandhi to provide buses to migrants. He is no Yogi but a corrupt & immoral politician who is worried more about PR in this crisis.”
Some tweeps are in disbelief that blind supporters of the government, media are questioning Gandhi for the lack of buses, instead of asking the ruling party.
Tweep @KateelSagar posted: “I guess ours is the only nation where media doesn't question ruling party for its failure but questions opposition.”